PEA highlights copper expansion potential of Cote d’Ivoire project


Staff reporter

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Drilling at Samapleu-Grata in Cote d’Ivoire

A Cote d’Ivoire nickel-copper project’s latest preliminary economic assessment (PEA) shows weaker net present value and IRR levels due to nickel’s falling price, but double the projected copper concentrate output over its 16-year life compared with an earlier study.

Junior project partner Sama Resources says the Samapleu-Grata project can produce an average 38,000 tonnes per year of copper concentrate for 10,000tpa of payable copper.

It has also simplified its process flowsheet for the site compared with its 2020 PEA, eliminating refining plant for carbonyl nickel or iron powder. A proposed 5.475 million tonnes per annum processing plant treating run-of-mine material is slated to produce 38,627tpa of 26% copper concentrate and 55,119tpa of 13% nickel concentrate.

“Both concentrates will be saleable products,” Sama said.

The circa US$340 million project is also expected to produce cobalt, platinum, palladium and gold as by-products, with credits of US$1.05/lb seen to be able to reduce nickel/copper AISC to $3/lb.

Sama’s project partner is Ivanhoe Electric, which now owns 60% of Samapleu-Grata.

“While we present a lower NPV and IRR than we did in 2020 that is principally a function of the lower nickel price used in this PEA,” Sama CEO Dr Marc-Antoine Audet said.

“In [new] PEA we have effectively doubled the mill feed and changed the flow sheet to produce conventional nickel and copper concentrates, and in doing so have increased overall nickel concentrate production by 19% and importantly increased life-of-mine copper concentrate production by more than 100% over its projected sixteen-year mine life.

“What is exciting about the PEA is that we believe it to just be the beginning.

“The Samapleu-Grata nickel-copper project presents the rare opportunity for significant expansion over its 835 square-kilometre area. We have already identified surface nickel-copper mineralisation at prospects such as Yepleu, 25km south-west of Samapleu-Grata, and we have more than 10 other targets of interest.”

 

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